Defending champion Philippines has what it takes to make a podium finish when Cambodia hosts the 32nd Southeast Asian Games next year in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.
This was the belief of newly-appointed deputy chef de mission Paolo Tancontian, who insists that even as host of the biennial sportsfest, Cambodia is not likely to figure in a battle for first place or even second and third.
Tancontian and canoe-kayak head coach and international technical official Leonora “Len” Escollante were appointed as deputies last Monday along with Philippine Amateur Baseball Association president Joaquin “Chito” Loyzaga as the country’s chief of mission.
“We have a chance to break into the top three next year because Cambodia had only a few medals in their tally from this year,” said Tancontian, also the president of Pilipinas Sambo.
“The host country won’t be No. 1 this time.”
In this year’s edition of the SEA Games, Cambodia was at ninth with a 9-13-41 gold-silver-bronze tally in the 11-nation tournament.
The Philippines placed fourth in the meet after winning 52 golds, 70 silvers and 104 bronze medals for a total of 226 medals.
Compared to Hanoi’s 40 sports with 522 events, Cambodia penciled 49 sports with 632 events but it still plans to add 30 events in vovinam, 24 in martial arts Korea and 13 in dragonboat.
Tamcontian believes martial arts will be the key for the Filipinos to break into the top three in next year’s SEA Games.
“We have a huge chance in combat and martial arts sports, which makes up almost 30 percent of the total events that will be played out in the Cambodia SEA Games,” Tancontian said.
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